Northampton charity bids to reduce number of diabetes-related amputations

A Northampton-based charity has vowed to 'drive down' the increasing number of easily avoided diabetes-related amputations.

Monday, 7th November 2016, 6:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:53 pm
InDependent Diabetes Trust co-chair, Jenny Hirst

The InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT), based in Abington Avenue, wants to help reduce the 130 amputations which take place every week.

The organisation has published a booklet called Diabetes – Looking After Your Feet, which is designed to help people with diabetes avoid foot ulcers.

If foot ulcers are left untreated they can eventually lead to amputation, which drastically changes a person’s quality of life.

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IDDT co-chair, Jenny Hirst, said: “Currently 300 new diabetic foot ulcers are diagnosed every day in the UK.

“There is a shortage of podiatrists in the NHS and many of the annual diabetes checks, which include assessments of the feet, are being carried out in primary care by nurses, not by podiatrists as we believe they should be.

“For various reasons, many nurses aren’t receiving the training they need in order to carry out the right foot checks. That is why we felt we had to take action and help drive down the spiralling numbers of amputations. Our booklet shows people what they need to look out for to keep their feet healthy.”

Experts believe 80 percent of diabetes-related amputations could be avoided if the right foot checks are carried out.

There are clear guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) about how foot care should be managed in people.

However, because the level of care is so varied across the country, not everyone is receiving the right information or health checks.

The National Diabetes Audit, which was released earlier this year, showed that lack of diabetes education meant many people are unaware that diabetes could put their feet and limbs at risk if not managed correctly.

In some areas of England people are twice as likely to undergo diabetes-related amputations as the national average.

Mrs Hirst added: “Amputations and ulcers have a huge detrimental effect on the quality of life and sadly up to 70 percent of people die within five years of undergoing one.

“It’s crucial we help spread the word and get as many people with diabetes educated about the importance of good foot care, so they too can watch out for any early signs of ulcers.”

The booklet will be officially unveiled at the charity’s annual conference, which this year is entitled Best Foot Forward.

The event, which is being held Kettering Park Hotel and Spa on Saturday, October 15, will bring together people with diabetes and experts within the field of the condition.

IDDT has more than 17,000 members and works across the globe helping families and people with diabetes to manage their condition and live positive, healthy lives.

The charity provides information booklets and other support, such as collecting unwanted insulin to help adults and children in developing countries who cannot afford the insulin they need for survival.